Alternative Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Buffet


The inspiration for this post came from an article I read yesterday. As part of The Giving Pledge and because of the personal commitment he made in 2006, it was announced that Warren Buffet was giving $2.6 billion of Bershire Hathaway Inc. stock to 5 more charities.

In Warren Buffet’s “My Philanthropic Pledge” he states:

…this pledge does not leave me contributing the most precious asset, which is my time. Many people, including — I’m proud to say — my three children, give extensively of their own time and talents to help others. Gifts of this kind often prove far more valuable than money.

I found this to be very inspiring. Reading it made me think of ways that we could give back to the community, show support for a non-profit organization or charity without having to spend a fortune.

5 Alternative Ways to Donate to Charity

A really fun way to give back is to join a fundraiser. Many fundraisers involve things like walkathons and marathons. A wonderful way to spend the day with the family while participating in healthy activities and supporting a cause. Also fundraising ideas are a way to spread the word out about a cause or social issue. The re-sale of fundraiser items help boost fundraising efforts. You can use fundraising gifts to advertise your business at charity events that you sponsor.

Volunteering is a great way to give back. Donate your time to help the charity of your choice. You could lend a hand to feed the homeless, spend time with the elderly, or help clean up a park. There are resources, like VolunteerMatch, online that will help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. If you own a business encourage employees to get involved. It can prove to be a rewarding opportunity for everyone. Represent your brand by wearing corporate logo t-shirts or name tags while volunteering.

Clothing Drop
Giving away my used clothing and/or household goods is one of my most favorite tasks. There is something freeing about a good household purge. My rule of thumb is if I haven’t used it or worn it in 2 years then it can go. The added benefit, of course, is that when you give your clothes and things to charity you know it won’t go to waste. What is no longer valuable to you maybe to someone else. Keep in mind that you can not donate outdated goods such as Tube TV’s and VHS tapes. Make sure you check with the organization before your bring your stuff to the drop off location. If you have an abundance of promotional products left over from an event, they might make a good donation as well.

Food Banks
It’s amazing how quickly you can fill up a few boxes of food by collecting non-perishable and canned goods from your neighbors, family and friends. Local food pantries are always in need of more. According to the organization Feeding America over 50 million people in this country are struggling with hunger. One idea is to imprint your business logo on an economic tote bag. Then hand them out for those to use while collecting food for the food banks. This way you can gain exposure and creditability for your business.

Matching Gifts
The corporation that you or your spouse work for may offer a matching gift. This means that when you make a charitable donation your company will match that donation. So for example, if you give $100 and your company matches at a 1:1 ratio then the charity will get $200. Make sure you check your firm’s website before you make your next donation because you might be able to make it go twice as far.

All these ways are helpful and may require your time. The bottom line is, like Buffet said, time is a very valuable asset and that is the best thing you can give to someone who is in need.

What ways have you given back to the community? Are there any other ways you can think of to help a charity of choice?

63 thoughts on “Alternative Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Buffet

  1. Money in my estimation is low hanging fruit. You can give a little or a lot and that’s it. It’s easy. When you get involved with your time, as Buffet implies, you cannot get it back. And along with your time you give your energy which when giving back to the community in my experience, it comes back to you many fold. My husband and I give in just about all the ways you mention.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Emotional Baggage Have You Waiting in a Safe Zone?My Profile

  2. All these are such great ideas. As a mom I think it is very important to model this way if being. When my oldest first started school I got very involved with our fundraiser, and chaired the event for a few years. My daughter was so proud every time she saw me on campus! Volunteering for a local soup kitchen with your kids is a great way to spend valuable time together while teaching them the importance of giving back! And I love the idea of initiating a food drive in your neighborhood to support a local food bank!
    Valerie Remy Milora recently posted…5 Strategies for Fast Fat Loss before Summer EndsMy Profile

  3. Good suggestions of alternatives to fundraising. Always wonder why people throw away things like clothes and furniture instead of giving them to charities. They come and pick up furniture and other big items. All you have to do is call them.

  4. You never fail to amaze me with your posts. Not only are they always very informational, but you always have a great way of tying in promoting your company. These are great ideas for contributing to the community. And it is true, time is the most valuable thing you can give because far too many people always say, “I wish I had more time. Then I would volunteer.” But people don’t realize that they do have this time. They just don’t know how to find it.
    Mary Slagel recently posted…Doctors are Turning to Smart Phones to Help PatientsMy Profile

  5. Arleen — this comes under volunteering, but smaller volunteer organizations are desperate to make contacts with large organizations (for money and in-kind donations) but also with senior corporate executives who could eventually become board members. That’s how I’ve helped two small organizations. One I consult to and the other I was on the Board. I was able to introduce my client to two highly-placed women who eventually accepted Board positions. That’s a great weakness in smaller volunteer organizations. They can’t get individuals with connections and money to be on their boards.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…How a Tweet on Twitter Got Action (Finally) From a Social Care RepMy Profile

    • Maybe it is a time for change to get more individuals with connections on boards. Many of us money that can be donated. It doesn’t have to be large sums. I donate money to the multiple Sclerosis Foundation. There are so many charities out there that effect our lives. Since I have been donating great strides have been made to get this diesease under control. I don’t know if they will find a cure in my daughter’s lifetime but I hope it will help others.
      Arleen recently posted…Alternative Fundraising Ideas Inspired by BuffetMy Profile

  6. I found this really interesting. I visited a unit for people with learning disabilities recently and I was amazed how many things they created out of boxes and cans etc. It made me appreciated how we throw things away without thinking of further use.
    Thank you for the article , it was very interesting.

  7. Love the post Arleen and Susan! If businesses are not able to donate cash directly, they could donate their services – I guess that would tie in to volunteering. I read a story about a couple in Syracuse, NY who wanted to renew their wedding vows. The husband was in the military and sustained serious injuries – it threw their plans way off. Local businesses all rallied and donated everyting (flowers, music, dinner, photography). Many business are willing to help this way if asked 🙂

  8. Before I remarried I did a lot more volunteering and various events throughout Indianapolis. My current husband (from Germany) doesn’t understand the concept of volunteering. If he’s not getting paid for it in some way he won’t do it.

    Since my son started school I was involved with the parent teacher organization, starting with the volunteer coordinator to the carnival chair to the secretary. Now that he’s going on to middle school I don’t know how or where I’ll volunteer next.
    Cassi recently posted…Geekatoo – Saving $$ on Local Tech Support, Computer Repair, & More!My Profile

  9. Great post, Arleen. Whenever I give my money or my time or my surplus items, I feel good about life. It gives me an energy boost, and makes me want to keep giving further. You’ve inspired me to make a Goodwill run this afternoon when I do a banking errand. Thanks for putting us all back in touch with our instincts to give. Thanks also for your good comment at Diamond-Cut Life. It feels good to visit each other like this.

  10. I think it’s so important to give back in any way we can. It’s a big part of finding joy within ourselves. Happiness in things can be fleeting, but true joy in our hearts is about giving to others.

    I participate every year in a ‘walk for life’ fund raiser and it’s amazing. I love doing it. People are always happy to give, in fact I’ve had people support me that I’ve never even met. The walk is also a great way to meet people and connect.

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  11. Hi Arleen!

    There is nothing more fulfilling that to “give back” especially with our time. I just loved the time I spent at a local food bank packaging and handing out food to people. They always put me at the front table (because of my big mouth lol) I would greet the people and make them feel comfortable. Even give them recipes of how to make those greens that people don’t eat enough of. What a wonderful feeling.

    There are so many ways we can give our time instead of money and I prefer to do things that way myself. Money is just money, but when you get involved with organizations you really get to be part of it all.

    I recycle EVERYTHING! Sometimes it takes me hours to give clothing here and shoes there, knowing which center needs the most.

    I once had a woman come up to me at church to thank me for the christening dress I donated to “Birthright” which is an organization that is non-denominational to help those women who chose to have their baby. I had purchased three christening outfits at a store that was closing thinking it may come in handy for my grandchildren. But none of them needed it. This woman was so appreciative that she told me she will cherish it forever. Now that is a great feeling.

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    • Food banks are so rewarding and kudos to you for volunteering. Giving time your time, handing out gifts and money does help. I donate to the Multiple Sclerosis foundation as I hope one day they will find a cure. This one hits home as my daughter has the disease. I am not Warren Buffet but every little bit helps. There is nothing giving.
      Arleen recently posted…Alternative Fundraising Ideas Inspired by BuffetMy Profile

  12. Hi Arleen,

    Great Post and great ideas of giving back to the community.

    There is something about giving back that makes us happy and satisfied and the more we give the more we become blessed.

    Another idea of fundraising that I see here in Canada all the time is Car washing, where a church community or some willing friends get washing for a good cause.

    There is always a way to give back to the community and it is always good to instill it in our kids early on to grow up with a heart for giving.

    Thanks Arleen for a great post and ideas. Have yourself a great rest of the week.

    Be Blessed,


  13. I volunteer at my kids school and send money to charities which don’t have a physical presence in my State. It is very rewarding and I think we who have a lot to give have a moral responsibility to do just that.

  14. Hi Arleen

    I love the quote from Buffet and his acknowledgement that time can be more needed than money. If you have a lot of money it is easy to give where time clearly takes a part of our life.

    I love the ideas you have here. My daughter-in-law recently traveled to the USA from Australia to participate in a bike ride to raise money for MS. She has done it twice now. She raises a considerable amount and stays fit in training for it. Great idea.

    I always give my clothing and things I am not using to various charities. It would feel bad for me to throw them out when someone else can use them.

    A great post Arleen.

    Sue Price recently posted…Do You Know Your Why?My Profile

  15. Speaking as someone who works for a great charity, I can say that all of these ideas are wonderful. They may not seem like a big deal to the giver, but they can have a profound and life changing effect on the recipients. A visit from a volunteer can mean the only human contact that a senior gets for days on end. Thanks for sharing these great ideas Arleen.

  16. These are great suggestions for alternatives to donating money. I always donate clothing and household items to local non-profits where I know the funds will be used wisely. It saddens me to realize that not everyone is aware that some organizations that accept donations are actually for profit businesses. In our area, there are numerous collection bins but they’re not run by 501C organizations. The one that I believe is the most flagrant is actually Good Will. Even my mother didn’t realize that it’s not associated with a legitimate charity.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Friday Finds – Enhancing your Online Customer Experience & Logo DesignsMy Profile

    • I agree it is such a great feeling to know that someone will be able to use the clothes that maybe were worn very little due to fluctuation in weight, you didn’t like what you picked out in the first place. I have donated clothing that still had the tags on them. I just didn’t like them anymore. It is a great feeling to know they won’t go to waste when you donate.
      Arleen recently posted…Alternative Fundraising Ideas Inspired by BuffetMy Profile

  17. Hi Arleen, thank you so much for bringing this very important topic to our attention. Sometime I know that I can get so caught up in my own personal goals and aspirations that there doesn’t seem like there’s time left in the day to give to anything else. Making the time to get involved with one or more of the areas of giving that you mention here should be a top priority. There certainly is enough room for any and all the time a person can give. From previous experience I know that not only do you make a difference in the lives of folks that need it, it’s one of the most deeply personally rewarding gestures that anyone can do.
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  18. Volunteerism is one of the most effective ways of not only giving back to the community, but networking and feeling like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a win-win-win situation. Have you ever heard of “helper’s high?” It’s the good feeling you get from volunteering! Sometimes I almost feel selfish when doing volunteer work, because it’s so rewarding…
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  19. It’s interesting to see how many options there are. Yet how often do most of us give. I am reading a book at the moment which highlights how to get people to give (as one example of making ideas stick). It’s really quite interesting. Maybe as someone in sales you would be interested in this book. I am loving it and it’s not my area :> (getting off topic sorry)
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  20. I agree with Arleen, that giving out is so rewarding. Giving out makes you feel good and fulfilled inside you. Giving is an act of charity and enables one to relate to the less privileged in the society.
    Thanks for this great post.

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